Roll Call Attendance tool allows you to take and to grade attendance in Canvas. The Roll Call Attendance will be added as an Assignment to the Gradebook after you take attendance for the first time. By default, the attendance assignment is worth 100 points and late counts as 80%. Students do not see Attendance in course navigation.

(If you do not see the Attendance tab on the course navigation, go to Settings, select Navigation tab. Now locate Attendance and either click the 3 dots to 'Enable" or drag/drop Attendance to the top panel)

Creating Attendance from Course Navigation

  • Login to Canvas
  • Go your desired course
  • Click on Attendance
  • Mark the students as needed
    • Present
    • Absent
    • Late
    • Unmarked

Edit the Roll Call Attendance

  • Click Assignments
  • Select Roll Call Attendance assignment
  • Click Edit

You can:

  • Change the Points
  • Change/Assign to an Assignment Group
  • Change Display Grade As
  • Have it ‘not count this assignment towards the final grade’
  • Click Save

Creating Attendance from Assignments

Create an Assignment Group

  • Click on +Group
  • Name assignment group Attendance and place Roll Call Attendance in this group

Click on +Assignment

  • Name the assignment (has to be named) Roll Call Attendance
  • Assign the point value desired
  • Make sure the Assignment Group displays Attendance
  • Submission Type: Click the down arrow and select External Tool
  • Click Find, scroll down and select Roll Call
  • Click Select
  • Click Save & Publish

Take Attendance
Side Note: if you currently use Weighted Grades, please see; Weighted Totals

Once the attendance tool is set up in your course, and your course is published, you can start to take attendance using Roll Call.

The attendance tool is configured by default to allow taking roll seven days a week. This setting is useful for courses where there may be a need to take attendance for an event that takes place outside of a regular school week. However, the attendance tool will only calculate grades in the gradebook out of the total number of days roll has been taken.

Taking Attendance List and Class View 


In the List and Class View, you can take attendance by toggling the correct mark next to each student's name. Click the attendance mark until you arrive at the desired mark:

  • To mark the student as present and on time, click one time (green check mark icon).
  • To mark the student as not present, click two times (red X icon).
  • To mark the student as late, click three times (orange clock icon).
  • To unmark the attendance status, leave the button as the default (gray no symbol icon). The unmarked attendance status can also be assigned if using excused absence badges.

You can also take attendance by clicking the Mark All Present button.

If you need to start over or clear all attendance entries, click the Unmark All button.

You can drag and drop the students in your course to create a seating chart for your classroom.

Note: Currently Roll Call does not support a seating chart print option. However, you can always print the screen image from your browser.

  • Click the Class tab.
  • To create a seating chart for your class, click the Edit Seating Chart tab.
  • The first time you edit the seating chart, all your students' names will appear in the left column. Drag your students onto the grid and arrange them as desired. Remove students from the seating chart by dragging them to the green box in the left hand column. You can rearrange the placement of students in the grid as necessary.


After the first time you take roll call, Canvas automatically creates an assignment for Roll Call Attendance and adds a column to the Gradebook. By default, attendance is worth 100 points.

To avoid Attendance calculation errors, never delete, rename, or unpublish the Attendance assignment.

Instructors can edit several components of the Roll Call Attendance assignment:

  • If you are using weighted assignment groups, you can create a new weighted assignment group and move the attendance assignment into that group.
  • You can edit the assignment and change the point value.
  • You can remove Attendance from the Gradebook completely by changing the assignment type.
  • You can exclude the attendance assignment from the final grade.


Remove from Gradebook

If you do not want Attendance to appear in the Gradebook as a graded assignment, you can edit the Attendance assignment and change the assignment type (Not Graded). Students can still view the assignment but it will not appear in their grades.

To remove the assignment from the Gradebook:

  • Edit the attendance assignment
  • Then in the Display Grade as menu, select the Not Graded option.
  • At the bottom of the window, click the Save button.

Note: Once you have changed the assignment type, you cannot change it back to a graded assignment. Please ensure you do not want to grade Attendance before changing the assignment type.


Exclude from Final Grade

If you do not want the Roll Call Attendance assignment to be calculated in the final grade, you can choose to exclude the assignment from final grade calculations.

  • Edit the attendance assignment
  • Then select the Do not count this assignment towards the final grade checkbox.
  • At the bottom of the window, click the Save button.

Mute and Unmute Attendance

By default, Canvas allows students to see assignment grades as soon as the instructor has graded the assignment. A muted assignment will not send out grade change notifications or any new instructor comments until the assignment is unmuted. A muted assignment displays a Mute icon on the student grades page so students know the assignment is muted.


  • From Course Navigation, click the Grades.
  • Hover over the name of the assignment. Click the drop-down menu.
  • Click the Mute Assignment
  • Confirm Mute assignment
  • To unmute the assignment, click the assignment drop-down menu and click the Unmute Assignment
  • Click the Unmute Assignment button.

How to have the Gradebook count number of absences

  1. Go Settings and Course Details scroll to
  2. Click the checkbox to “Enable course grade scheme” then click on “view grading scheme”
  3. Once in the View Grading Scheme screen click on “manage grading schemes” at the bottom
  4. Once on the Manage screen click on “+Add grading scheme
    Note: This example is based on 32 class meetings (2x week for 16 week) sessions, yours may vary.

Be sure to un-check “Enable course grade scheme” after you have set up your Attendance grading schema.


Setting the “Roll Call attendance” assignment to use new grading schema:

  • Take attendance as you would the first time.
  • Number of points equal to class meetings (Important to determine the scheme points)
  • Set in a separate group (for ease only)
  • Display Grade as- set to GPA Scale
  • Click on View the grading scheme
  • Choose the correct grading scheme from the list ( the default course one will be automatically displayed)
  • Click on “use this grading standard”
  • Click done in the lower right
  • Go back to the attendance section of the course, and check mark all here for every class meeting to set the students at 0 absences.
  • After this each time a student is marked absent the grade book will mark one in the grade book. i.e. student 1 has 5 absences, student 2 3 absences and so on

Canvas lets you run “Attendance Reports” for your course that you can download (sends to email) and open in Excel. When email is received, click link (it is a very long link) and select Open in Excel


Excel Spreadsheet
You can set up and use a Pivot Table in Excel that quickly gives you the detail you need in an understandable format in just “three” steps.

  1. Select (highlight) range that includes column heading/detail for Student, Class Date, and Attendance
  2. Select from the Menu ribbon, Insert, Pivot Table (don’t need to change any defaults) and click OK. A new sheet opens and displays the empty Pivot Table with the selected columns to the right.
Drag the following fields (column names) to the Rows and Value boxes
  • Select and drag Student Name field down to Rows
  • Select and drag Attendance field to Rows (under Student Name) and finally
  • Select and drag the Attendance field (again) to Value
    (Note: Even though the Class Date is not selected it is needed to compile information)
  1. The worksheet now displays each student with the count of absences, late, and present


Need to see more detail on a particular student? Go to “Filter” on the imported sheet to display specifics on the student from the “raw data” sheet.
Select the original sheet displaying data, select Data from the Menu ribbon and click “Filter”. Each column now shows a down arrow where you can select what you want to filter. Click Select All to remove the check mark and then you can scroll and select (check) student name for detail\